RUGBY UNION: LONGTON proved too strong for a depleted Birmingham & Solihull Bees side who fell to a 22-11 defeat in the National League Three Midlands league.
Last minute illness meant a reshuffle in the Bees pack at Trentham Fields with Dan Toth starting at hooker and 18-year old prop Freddie Clark was called up to the bench for his first senior side start.
It was the boot of Max Rodman that got his side into a six-point lead after 23 minutes after slotting two penalties in what had been an entertaining opening period, where neither side had been able to stamp their authority on the game.
Longton’s industry was finally rewarded with a try on the 30-minute mark when flanker Sam Longstaff went over at short range following an attacking line out and Grant Hallam added the conversion.
With their line out impeded by the lack of a recognised hooker throwing in, one the of Bees’ major attacking weapons was blunted and despite the slope and possession in the Longton half, the score remained at 7-6 going into the break.
The second half began with the Bees on the back foot, but excellent work by Matt Spink disrupted the Longton drive.
Rodman had a chance to put the visitors back in the lead, but his penalty attempt was pushed wide. The cause was then not helped by a yellow card for Nathan Tilsey, adjudged to have made a late/high tackle in midfield.
Hallam duly helped himself to the penalty and three minutes later Longton were 15-6 to the good, with their second try of the afternoon coming from Taz Wara.
Wara got his second and his side’s third try of the afternoon on 70 minutes to effectively seal the victory for the home side – the successful Hallam conversion stretching Longton’s lead to 22-6.
Yet to their credit, the Bees never threw in the towel. Another barnstorming run by Matt Spink and a good off load to Chip Tawanda reduced the deficit to ten points and then resolute defending to the last minute denied the home side a try bonus point.
This Saturday league leaders Nuneaton come to Portway (2.15 kick off).